Writing for Contests

writing contestsIf you’ve spent some time entering writing contests, you know they are an investment. Whether it’s poetry, short stories, essays, or chapbooks, most contests charge reading fees. Plus, there’s the “cost” of your time. And when you don’t win, you start to think, “Well, that was twenty bucks down the drain!”

We at Writer’s Relief recommend that our clients (and all writers) enter contests. But how does a writer know when the entry fee and time spent are worth it?

Here are the questions you’ll need to ask yourself before you fork over your entry fee:

1. Is this contest reputable?

First things first: Don’t enter shady contests (such as fake poetry contests). There are a number of websites out there that are “writing contest factories.” Authors are encouraged to sign up for online communities and/or prodded to enter contests again and again. These sites can be a lot of fun, and many writers use them as a way to build their craft and confidence. But “contest factories” are generally not reputable within the larger, professional publishing industry.

goldfishLook for contests that have a solid reputation and longevity (contests that have been running for several years or even decades). Read this article for our thoughts about the professional reputation of fan fiction contests.

The following questions will help you determine how reputable a contest is and how that level of reputation affects you.

2. Who are the sponsors and organizers?

If the contest in question is run by The New Yorker, then you know you’re looking at a contest of great renown. If the contest in question is run by Sam’s Auto Club and Horseshoe Factory, you’re probably not looking at a contest that is well-known in the industry.

If you can’t find the information you need from the “About Us” section of the contest’s website, email the organizers and ask for details. In most cases, the reputation of the contest’s organizers is directly related to the reputation of the contest.

You might also like

Ten-year-old from Harpenden wins prize in a national writing contest  — St Albans & Harpenden Review
A ten-year-old from Harpenden has won a prize in a national contest designed to find the best young writers. Susanna Tredinnick said she had to pinch herself when she was announced winner at the Wicked Young Writers' Award held in London.

Q&A

avatar
What is a good writing international contest?

hopefully no entry fees ( it doesn't matter if there is no cash prize)
just nothing with poems

try this site